THE importance of a work of this kind, has been frequently suggested to the author, by innumerable correspondents, in almost every portion of the Union, who have, from time to time, addressed numerous letters to him, propounding countless interrogations in reference to all the different topics, to which the following pages are devoted. Many of these correspondents the author has invariably answered; while many others, lie has, from the pressure of business, found it not only extremely inconvenient, but entirely impracticable to answer, in any other manner than that which; is here adopted. The above, anti innumerable other manifestations, indicative of the extraordinary avidity with which all information of this nature, is every where sought, have been strong incentives to the present undertaking. But the fact, that among all the various works now extant, which treat of Oregon and California, there are none which contain that practical information, which is so much desired by the enquiring [sic] emigrant: and the fact, of the utter destitution, of all information in reference to the different routes to those countries, the equipments [sic], supplies, and the method of traveling, have been the chief inducements to its early inception and completion. Notwithstanding the paramount importance of these subjects, nothing has heretofore, been written in relation to them, excepting the few articles, occasionally found in our western newspapers and journals, which are usually written by traveling correspondents; and which, from their necessary brevity, are found entirely inadequate to the general demand.
The design of these pages is not to treat in extenso of Oregon and California, but merely to give a succint [sic], and at the same time, practical description of those countries; embracing a brief description of their mountains, rivers, lakes, bays, harbours, islands, soil, climate, health, productions, improvements, population, government, market, trade and commerce: a description of the different routes; and all necessary information relative to the equipment, supplies, and the method of traveling. Hence it will readily seen, that they will be found much more conducive to the interest of the emigrating portion of our community; yet, it is confidently hoped, that they may prove equally valuable and interesting to all those, who may deem it proper to give them an attentive perusal. This may, with the more propriety be hoped as all excrescences have been cautiously lopped off, leaving scarcely any thing more than a mere collection of interesting, important and practical facts.
In collecting the materials for this little work, the author has had recource [sic] to all available and authentic sources; yet, for most of the statistical information relative to both Oregon and California, he is indebted chiefly to the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the missionaries in Oregon; the gentlemen of the same company and other foreigners of undoubted veracity in California. All other information than that derived from the sources above alluded to, he has acquired, by his own personal observation, during an excursive journeying, of about two years duration, through those remote, yet highly interesting regions.
Sincerely hoping that the following pages may prove useful to all those, who contemplate emigrating to Oregon or California, and interesting at least, if not useful to the general reader, they are now submitted to the public; with the assurance that, if they shall be found either useful to the former, or interesting to the latter, the author will, in a great measure, be compensated for all the labor and expense, which he has incurred, in their preparation for the press; and thus, his most sanguine expectations will be fully realized.
LANSFORD W. HASTINGS